Established in 1946 Alitalia is the flag carrier and national airline of Italy with an operating fleet of 120 airplanes. Alitalia provides service to 102 destinations — 27 within Italy and 75 to the rest of the world — making 4,500 weekly flights and carrying over 23 million passengers. While the name has been consistent all these years, there are actually two Alitalias: the original, “Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane” and the new one, “Alitalia – Compagnia Aerea Italiana”, which bought the aircraft, infrastructure, and employees in 2005 and kept on keeping on with the name. Last week, Alitalia introduced a new logo and livery designed by Landor, the same company that designed its identity in 1969.
To reflect longevity and the airline’s illustrious history, the stylised tail logo which has characterised Alitalia since its first major rebrand 46 years ago has been updated and refined, retaining the same green, red, and white colours of the Italian flag. The new logotype has been modernised and a more dominant “A” has been introduced—a bold statement of the heights the airline is striving to reach and its enviable experience in the field of aviation.
By increasing the number of primary colour tones used on the logo’s palette, the modernised livery now portrays greater depth and richness. Inspired in part by the striking lines on Formula 1 racing cars, striations have been added to the red triangular interior of the Alitalia “A,” creating a pinstripe effect which reflects exclusivity, attention to detail, and a strong focus on design.
Until I saw the evolution image above I hadn’t realized the logo was italicized in 2005. Although it made the “a”s unbearable to look at, it did fix the letterspacing of the original and, for good press releasing, it conveyed forward motion. I think I am supposed to be an unquestioning devout of the 1960s Landor-designed logo since it’s a classic but… I guess I’m not. It’s fine, don’t get me wrong, and highly iconic simply because of its ability to stick around for over 70 years, particularly the “A”, but neither the full logo nor the livery are a-mazing.
The new logo is a fairly straightforward evolution that smartly and even surprisingly keeps the same graphic lineage of yore — you would think someone somewhere argued for a more pronounced change. The “A” is now much more prominent and towers over the ascender height, which kills the nice horizon that the 2005 italicized version achieved (even better than in the original). The “A” in the logo now looks more like a plane’s tail with the “litalia” trailing behind. The rest of the wordmark is “better” in that it fixes those nasty old “a”s with more streamlined versions. The strangest element of the logo is the “ta” combo where the arm of the “t” has been extended to meet the “a” at a very pronounced angle that has nothing to do with anything else in the logo. (For a moment I thought it matched the angle of the “A” but it’s not quite the same.) The new logo definitely feels more of this century but that doesn’t make it a great improvement and certainly neither does the unnecessary gradient or barely-there pin striping on the “A”.
After 46 years, the green band will disappear from the fuselage for the first time. At the core of the new livery is a larger tricolour ‘A’ tailfin, which serves as a powerful representation of the Italian flag across the world. A more modern typeface and non-Italic style conveys the confidence and assertiveness of the new Alitalia.
A warm ivory fuselage adds an element of Italian style and elegance to the scheme, and a sense of speed is created by a refined series of bands progressively leading towards the rear of the aircraft.
The vibrant and contemporary new branding will also feature in the cabin décor of Alitalia’s modern fleet of Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft, allowing for fresher, more stylish, and uniquely Italian interiors which now feature the type of fine detailing and design associated with luxury sports cars.
The new livery follows the same line of thinking as the logo evolution with subtle changes that keep the original intentions. The “A” tailfin remains but with a design that wraps all along the bottom of the plane, giving it a much richer presence. The long line across the fuselage has been removed and in its place is a new off-white paint job that emanates from the back with some pin striping of its own. I only wonder if the ivory paint scheme won’t make it look like when you leave a white piece of paper out in the sun for too long and it starts to yellow. Nonetheless, I do think the change makes for a handsome-looking, classic livery and I wish the logo had shown similar restraint.